BATTLE CREEK — Mother Nature caused problems for the St. Joseph and Battle Creek Central football teams on Thursday. 

Lightning strikes in the area forced a game delay early in the fourth quarter. The final score and results were not available at deadline.

The Bearcats trimmed the Bears’ lead to 32-18 with 8:55 remaining in the game following a 32-yard run from Tyshaan Williams. Central was going to attempt the extra point before the game was delayed.

Troy Pratley was 6 of 13 for 173 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He scored two more on the ground to lead the Bears’ offense, which is still working out the kinks in its new veer offense. The team gained 173 yards through the air and 69 on the ground. Jeremiah Sterling had 15 carries for 47 yards and Griffin Shinrock led the offense with 48 yards on three catches. Luke Hedstrom had one catch, a 68-yard touchdown strike from Pratley.

A Nick Hunter punt was blocked by Hedstrom and Hunter Kalamaros returned it 14 yards for a score to put St. Joseph up 22-6 in the second quarter. The Bears led 22-12 at halftime.

The Bearcats couldn’t get out of their own way, with 11 penalties for 91 yards killing drives and setting up the Bears in good field position. Consecutive unsportsmanlike conduct penalties from the Central sideline would lead to a 35-yard Brent Huff field goal to give the Bears a 32-12 lead in the third quarter.

Central outgained St. Joseph 298-242 prior to the delay, but the Bears’ defense was able to make plays when needed. Huff, who was a constant presence in the Central backfield, tallied 10 tackles and one sack. Christian Myers had seven tackles, one sack, and one interception and Kalamaros added two sacks. 

Central quarterback Theo Shepherd completed 14 of 23 passes for 160 yards, one touchdown, and one interception while running back Tyshaan Williams had nine carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Jaquan West had one catch for 44 yards and a touchdown and Xavier Hall was leading the defense with five tackles. 

Contact: mharden@thehp.com, 932-0371, @HPMaxwellHarden